The Wayfarer of a Feminist in Nigeria Politics --- Bariga Vice Chairman

   Hon (Mrs) Adeola Zainot Kuponiyi

    The meaningful participation of women in national, local, and community leadership roles has become an important focus on global development policy. Still, some may ask why it matters if women become political leaders, elected policymakers, or civil society activists. Why does the world need more women involved in all aspects of the political process? Women's political participation results in tangible gains for democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and a more sustainable future.

Women’s participation in politics helps advance gender equality and affects both the range of policy issues that get considered and the types of solutions that are proposed. Whether a legislator is male or female has a distinct impact on their policy priorities. There is also strong evidence that as more women are elected to office, there is a corresponding increase in policy mai'ts g that emphasizes quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women, and ethnic and racial minorities. The positive impact of women in politics is undeniable.  Kofi Annan noted, “study after study has taught us, there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity or to reduce child and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation.”

     Women are working hard to assert themselves in the political arena. However, cultural beliefs have led to gender stereotyping. This has left the woman emerging as the victim of this phenomenon while the man takes an upper place not withstanding his academic and professional qualification.

Men and women go to the same learning institutions and acquire the same academic and professional qualifications by competing equally. There is no reason why women should not hold the same portfolios in equal measure. Leadership positions in all areas including parliamentary committees and ministries should be gender balanced.

      In Nigeria, women's’ political participation is very low. Women are still largely underrepresented in decision-making positions at all levels. They have also not made enough major progress in attaining political power in legislative and executive bodies. The number of elected women representatives is still low. More and more women are engaged in formal employment, but are underrepresented in middle and higher management positions; The number of women leaders and decision makers at the various level of the decentralized government structure is still very low this is as a result of the traditional belief that, women are made to take care of children and do kitchen works than participating outside home activity. 

Hence, there is division of works between men and women, which means home activities belongs to women and outside home activities belongs to men. Women are overburdened with different household activities like cooking, take caring of kids, washing and so on. These activities make women busy in the household and impede their involvement in the politics of the country. There is a belief that women are supposed to be led but not to lead.

   Mrs Kuponiyi says  

"I don't believe in feminism, it's not practically acceptable in this part of our society. Nigeria is a growing nation, trying to imagine that a woman being the president is something I do not envisage  happening anytime soon.  Women must be submissive and seek their husband's consent for any position in politics. Hillary Clinton was able to run for the office of the American President with her husband's full backup.. Women should portray all sense of modesty in vying for offices so that men don't take advantage of them.

   I am a vice chairman today, I sought my husband's consent before I ventured into this. I envy strong willed-women like Senator (Mrs) Remi Tinubu a wife to APC National leader, Chief Mrs Kemi Nelson,the APC southwest women leader, Hon (Mrs) Lola Akande , the Lagos state commisioner for women affairs, despite their exalted positions they are very much responsible to their husbands. Women should not shy away from their position in the name of gender equality."-

  Lack of economic resources is also one of the biggest obstacles that prevent women from participating in politics in greater numbers. Making it easier for women to access economic resources, therefore, is a key in expanding women’s presence in the political realm .

     Political participation , which is the manifestation of democracy and allows for diversity of opinion and participation of both men and women cannot thrive by excluding the women folk that constitute half of the world’s population. Without equal participation of women to political process, the hope for real democracy and democratization will remain unattainable.

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